A hoax e-mail circulating the Internet has millions of Americans scurrying to add their cell phones to a national Do Not Call list to avoid telemarketers.
The e-mail warns recipients that telemarketers will have new rights to call cell phones beginning Jan. 1, if people don't request anonymity by Wednesday. In the last week, 9.5 million people registered with the Do Not Call list, many as a result of the warning, according to its governing agency the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC typically fields up to 200,000 requests in a week, according to FTC spokeswoman Jen Schwartzman.
"People are panicked, and I think the only thing they got right in the e-mail is our Web site registration information," Schwartzman said.
Microsoft patches spell happy holidays
Microsoft managed to give a small holiday gift to network administrators this month: No critical patches. The software giant released five patches to fix nine issues in its Windows operating systems on Tuesday, with none of the security holes rated as a serious threat. Microsoft warned last week that the fix would be coming.
"All the flaws have something about them that makes it more difficult for an attacker to exploit them," said Stephen Toulouse, a security program manager in Microsoft's security response center. Earlier this month, Microsoft issued an unscheduled critical patch for Internet Explorer. It plugged a security hole that opened PCs with the Web browser up to attack by online fraudsters.
The five December advisories are the last fixes scheduled for release this year. If the company does not release any more security bulletins this month, it will have released 45 patches in 2004, down from 51 in 2003.